What is a marketplace?

First, we need to define a marketplace. Digital marketplaces are platforms that connect buyers and sellers of goods or services with each other and provide the infrastructure for the transaction. This can be a platform to sell physical goods like Etsy for homemade gifts or GOAT for rare shoes, or one to find and book services like Rover for pet-sitting or StyleSeat for salon bookings. And of course, there are huge category-defining marketplaces like Airbnb for vacation rentals and Uber for ride-sharing.  

There are always at least two sides in a marketplace, one for supplying the product or service and one for acquiring the product or service. There can even be three-sided marketplaces such as DoorDash, which connects consumers, restaurants, and delivery drivers. Determining who is on each side of your marketplace will be critical as you begin planning your build.

Infographics of marketplace companies by industry type


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